Gardaí increase Covid checkpoints in Donegal in bid to reduce travel

ireland
There is speculation Donegal may not move out of Level 5 restrictions as planned on December 1st. Photo: PA
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Stephen Maguire

Gardaí in Co Donegal are doubling the number of checkpoints over fears Covid-19 is not being contained properly.

A spokesman confirmed the number of static and random checkpoints will increase significantly from Tuesday.

It follows some criticism that not enough was done to monitor cross-Border traffic to and from the North.

Last week, Lifford-based GP Dr Martin Coyne said that people need to be stopped from crossing the Border for what he described as “trivial matters.”

He referred to situations where people crossed the Border just to buy underwear.

“I’m not saying they should close the Border, I’d be shot for that, but they should discourage crossings.”

“We’re on tenterhooks and we are taking all precautions.

“This is a worrying time for us. There is no light at the end of the tunnel.”

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“There is free movement of people, so there is free movement of the virus.”

There is speculation Donegal may not move out of Level 5 restrictions as planned on December 1st.

The 14-day incidence rate of Covid-19 in Donegal is the highest in the Republic, with 269.5 cases per 100,000 people.

However, the infection rate in the county is lower than in bordering areas in the North – in the Derry and Strabane area the 14-day rate is at 472.6 cases, and in Fermanagh and Omagh council district the rate stands at 341.6.

Gardaí have responded by putting more boots on the ground and adding more checkpoints.

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Traffic levels across Donegal have stayed high during the current Level 5 lockdown and the numbers of positive Covid-19 cases are also “stubbornly high”, gardaí said.

“An Garda Síochána in Donegal are appealing to the public over the next number of weeks of Level 5 restrictions to reduce non-essential travel and not leave their place of residence without reasonable excuse,” a statement said.

“We will be redoubling our efforts with an extensive network of static and random checkpoints across the County.

“At these checkpoints Gardaí will be interviewing people as to why they have left their residence and unless it is to access an essential retail outlet or essential service or to work in said essential outlet or services, Gardaí will be requesting members of the public to come into compliance and return to their home.”

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